The Biennial of Animation Bratislava (BAB) - International Festival of Animated Films for Children is an event with a tradition. It began its journey as an independent event accompanying the renowned cultural competition, Biennial of Illustrations Bratislava (BIB). In 1985, 1987, and 1989, it took place under the name International Review of Animated Films for Children.
In 1991 it became an international film festival of a unique nature since it is the only event of this type addressed exclusively to children. The mission of the Biennial of Animation Bratislava is to present animated films for children, provide opportunities to draw comparisons while evaluating their artistic quality and connections with the world of illustration and support overall development of this genre.
The Festival´s special prize, PRIX KLINGSOR, has been awarded since 1991 by The BAB Executive Committee as a life achievement award. It is given to an outstanding authority in the field of animation whose creative output unites refined artistic qualities with those of filmmaking, and who focuses on production for children. This prize has been awarded to distinguished figures in the world of animation: Emanuele Luzzati, Giulio Giannini, Fréderic Back, Faith Hubley, Gene Deitch, Co Hoedeman, Břetislav Pojar, Caroline Leaf, Michel Ocelot, Marcell Jankovics, Garri Bardin, Witold Gierz, Jannik Hastrup and in 2018, it was Michaël Dudok de Wit.
Since 1999, the ALBÍN BRUNOVSKÝ HONORARY MEDAL has been given in memory of the prominent Slovak graphic artist and illustrator who was also one of the festival´s founders. The medal is awarded for outstanding artistic and professional contribution to animated film production. The awardees include for instance Jan Švankmajer, Jean-François Laguionie, Anri Kulev, Andrej Chržanovskij, Ondrej Slivka, Jurij Norštejn, Per Ahlin, Georges Schwizgebel, Piotr Dumala, Viktor Kubal, Marie Benešová, Gabriela Gavalčínová, Georges Schwizgebel, Adolf Born, Paul Driessen, Ludvík Kadleček, Rudolf Urc, Koji Yamamura, Jiří Barta, Athina Rikaki, Guillermo Mordillo, John Coates, František Jurišič, Nicole Salomon, Blanka Šperková, Koloman Leššo, Anna Minichová, Vlasta Pospíšilová, Ivan Popovič, Mária Horváth, Tadeusz Wilkosz, Jiří Kubíček, Vladimír Malík and John Halas. The awardees in 2018 include Helena Sláviková-Rabarová (Slovakia) – scriptwriter, dramaturge, director, Edgar Dutka (Czech Republic) – writer, scriptwriter, dramaturge, director and lecturer of animation, Giannalberto Bendazzi (Italy) – historian of animated film and Yuichi Ito (Japan) – artist, animator, director and lecturer of animated film.
In 2003, BAB became a competitive festival. International jury awards the festival´s main prize, VIKTOR KUBAL PRIZE, for the best film, along with the UNICEF Prize and the VISEGRAD Prize - St.Vojtech Prize and Literary Fund Premium. Children cast their votes at the screenings and award the YOUNG AUDIENCE PRIZE.
In 2018 ECFA Award was also awarded for the first time by the ECFA International jury – European Children´s Film Association.
The Festival includes also retrospective and profile screenings, thematic film sections, international professional seminars and panels to discuss issues involving illustration, animation, animated film production and the media for children. Experts in the field participate. The integral part of the festival there are a lot of interesting exhibitions not only in BIBIANA, but also in foreign cultural institutes, art galleries and houses of culture.
In 2008 the festival introduced a new practical and theoretical platform – organizing animation workshops for children and with children - with well - known filmmakers and also screenings of works made by children. In the fast - paced age of new media and technology creation the festival BAB is becoming a niche environment for educating children in the media an co-operating with them – while grooming cultured viewers. Animation workshops for children with the assistance of young students and graduates of the Animation department of Film and Television faculty of the Academy of Performing Arts were running not only during the BAB festivals, but also after its end under their leadership in such a way, that it was included as a natural part of BIBIANA activities.
Since 2013, the Festival also includes the BAB Atelier in which a group of children meets regulary to cooperate on common animation projects. In 2014 they released their first film, The Forest - Home of Animals, followed by next films You are never alone /2016/, The Greedy Fox /2016, Ruddy the Scarecrow /2018/ and The Magical Ice Cream 2019.
In 2012 the BAB festival opened a door for young audience also in large Bratislava housing estates , films in competition were screened in big cinemas of houses of culture in Petržalka and Dúbravka.
In 2014, it was enlarged and went even further, the festival competition was introduced also in two other Slovak towns - Skalica, Prievidza and in 2018 festival competition screenings have already taken place in four cities - in Košice, Prievidza, Prešov and Myjava.
Since BAB 2016 the first International Forum titled From Illustration to Animation took place as a new discussion platform. In cooperation with Prešov University in Prešov its second edition was held in 2018.
In 2018, Flipbook competition was held for the fourth time - a competition for children across Slovakia.
The Biennial of Animation Bratislava – BAB, is held under the auspices and with the financial support of the Ministry of Culture of the Slovak Republic. The organizer of the festival is the BAB Secretariat in BIBIANA, International House of Art for Children.